The second phase of the BOV Premier League gets underway on Saturday with the first match from the Championship Pool and three matches from the Relegation Pool.
Mosta take on Hibernians in the only clash from the Championship Pool while in the Relegation Pool, a depleted Rabat Ajax side faces Naxxar Lions, Tarxien Rainbows meet Vittoriosa Stars and Floriana take on Qormi.
Rabat A. vs Naxxar L., kick-off 14:00 at Victor Tedesco Stadium
Naxxar Lions are firm favourites to return to winning ways as they take on a Rabat Ajax side which will be lacking no less than seven players, namely the suspended David Azzopardi, Dylan Falzon, Jonathan Bajada and Diego Carrillo and the injured Dani Pelaez, Aidan Azzopardi and Adam Smeir. Victor Bellia and Mattia Del Negro are ruled out injured for Naxxar.
The Magpies have now gone fourteen matches without a win and were eliminated from the U*BET FA Trophy by First Division side Gzira United. The Lions, on the other hand, lost the last four matches from the first phase and lost narrowly to Valletta in the FA Trophy quarter-finals.
Naxxar defeated Rabat 2-1 and 3-0 in the first phase.
Tarxien R. vs Vittoriosa S., kick-off 16:15 at Victor Tedesco Stadium
One point separates Tarxien and Vittoriosa and therefore both sides target a winning start as both teams are coming from defeats. Vittoriosa won three of the last seven matches but are coming from a 1-4 defeat to Birkirkara. Tarxien, on the other hand, lost five of the last six matches, losing 0-1 to Mosta in their last outing.
Tarxien’s Ryan Sammut and Vittoriosa’s Francisco Arriagada Mella are ruled out through suspension.
The first round clash ended in a 2-2 draw but Vittoriosa registered a 3-0 win in the second round.
Floriana vs Qormi, kick-off 14:00 at Hibernians Stadium
After the appointment of Riccardo Gaucci as the new president, Floriana hope to start the Relegation Pool with a win as they take on Qormi. The Greens lost five of the last six matches, earning a point in a 2-2 draw with Qormi in their last outing. Qormi, on the other hand, have now gone eight games without a win. Three points separate the two teams with Floriana lying on the 11-point mark and Qormi on 8.
Qormi coach Karel Zeman could not field his best formation as goalkeeper Matthew Farrugia is ruled out injured while Owen Bugeja, Roderick Sammut and Giorgio Ginola are all suspended. Floriana could not count on the suspended Emmanuel Ibok Edet and Joseph Borg.
Floriana had defeated Qormi 3-0 in the first round.
Mosta vs Hibernians, kick-off 16:00 at Hibernians Stadium
After winning their last five matches, Mosta aim for another win in order to close in on the Paolites who lie five points ahead, in third place. Hibernians, on the other hand, bounced back from two defeats with three wins in their last three matches.
For Hibernians, Johann Bezzina is suspended but Clayton Falla, Ryan Camilleri and Zoran Levnajic should be back. Manolito Micallef returns for Mosta with Jonas Ekani Rodriguez ruled out through suspension.
The first round clash ended in a 2-0 win for Hibernians with Mosta making a good comeback from two goals down to win 3-2 in the second round.
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